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« Spectator article now online | Main | As expected, PSU inquiry is whitewash »

Climate bloggers in the Speccy

Followers of the climate blogs may want to get hold of a copy of the Spectator this week. The cover story is a piece by the science writer Matt Ridley who "salutes the bloggers who changed the climate change debate".

Matt kindly emailed me a draft from which I have extracted this quote, which rather made my week:

Or take a book published last month called The Hockey Stick Illusion by Andrew Montford, a rattling good detective story and a detailed and brilliant piece of science writing. Montford has never worked in the media. He is an accountant and science publisher who works from his home in Perthshire. He runs a blog called `Bishop Hill’.

Montford came to the subject in 2005 when he read a blog post by another amateur non-journalist named Tim Worstall, a scandium dealer who lives in Portugal (I am not making this up), who was in turn passing on news of another blogger’s work: Stephen McIntyre, a retired mining consultant and keen squash player in Toronto.

UK readers can buy single copies here.


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Reader Comments (24)

Nice snippet and will get a copy - nice cover too.

Feb 4, 2010 at 9:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

Sorry the cover is not 'nice' - its cool.

Feb 4, 2010 at 9:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

Congrats Sir.

Feb 4, 2010 at 9:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterPlatoSays

Here is the the article:-

Feb 4, 2010 at 10:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrownedoff

I'm glad you're getting wider recognition. Where is it in the charts?

It sure was a rattling good detective story and a detailed and brilliant piece of science writing. I am now reading it for the second time, taking it a bit more slowly this time.

Feb 4, 2010 at 10:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

By yesterday I was down to 850 ish. With a bit of luck this will pull things back up again, although of course many Spectator readers will be buying through bookshops rather than Amazon. Waterstones have just put in a big order.

Still haven't been able to get any MSM book reviews though - only mentions in columns.

Feb 4, 2010 at 11:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterBishop Hill

That article in the Spectator was excellent and must help.

Feb 4, 2010 at 11:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Fred Pearce at the Guardian definitely needs to read your book. He seems to be aware of the issue, but does not really have a handle on, or good understanding of the underlying facts.

Feb 4, 2010 at 11:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterCumbrian Lad

Blogging really has changed the whole dynamic of news gathering and has reduced the number of hidey holes the like of Mann and the hockey teams can conceal themselves in.

Steve MacIntyre is a saint. Big respect to him and the others who refused to sit down, be quiet and drink the Kool Aid

Feb 4, 2010 at 11:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Harrington

I've read the article referred to. Very gung-ho, and also very PC for anti-warmists.

Unfortunately you need to be very careful who you go to bed with. Although The Spectator has the same agenda as you do, the motivation seems totally different.

As a libertarian do you want to be associated with a very 'right wing' (whatever that means) viewpoint, or do you want to stay on message with a rational rather than political approach?

Feb 4, 2010 at 11:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterTilde Guillemet


This is a perennial problem of course. I would love to appear in the Guardian too - they interviewed me for a couple of hours last week but nothing has come of it yet. Likewise the Sunday Times, who I've spoken to on a number of occasions.

At the moment it's 2:1 to the right - the BBC being the only left-wing outlet that has given me a mention, although they didn't mention the book.

What to do?

Feb 4, 2010 at 11:18 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Matt Ridley's opinion of this whole affair has the very great benefit of being very credible to the people who want to have an opinion on these issues without trying to understand them. And this is not to condemn those people. The science and "science" are very hard to comprehend, for me, at least.

Feb 4, 2010 at 11:36 AM | Unregistered Commenterj ferguson

Good Stuff.

Feb 4, 2010 at 12:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterKevin

Philip Stott has written about this too today at

Feb 4, 2010 at 12:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Interesting discussion about left and right and libertarian. I have discussed this at length with my son who is studying Politics at Southampton. Here is my take on this using history as my arbiter.

Nearly all governments that most of us would class as “leftwing” are also the least libertarian by the time they leave power and in many cases could be better classified as authoritarian by the time the electorate discharges them. We don’t have to go far to find an excellent example of this. Now some may class this example of mine as right wing in reality if not in aspiration but this is part of the issue in getting libertarian ideas into the mainstream.

The right of centre governments the UK have had usually in my view produced fewer controls and greater freedom. Sometimes their reality has been constrained by circumstance but they generally do a better job. They could do a much better job if there were more with libertarian ideas within their ranks.

Is it that Libertarians are not up to the methods the “so called” right may employ to implement their ideals, preferring the utopian “you can have your cake and eat it” methods that usually require absolute control to implement and therefore are always doomed to failure? Catch 22?

Just a thought.

Feb 4, 2010 at 12:58 PM | Unregistered Commenterpetermg

Insofar as many people with "right wing" views are so-called because they are intrinsically sceptical of Grand Plans-- sceptical of Socialist Economic Planning, sceptical of the EU, sceptical of Political Correctness etc, etc - it's not too surprising if they find themselves more sympathetic to the Climate Sceptics. Many of those same people will be sceptical of Creationism, Momeopathy, new Ageism, Gaia, and other pseudo-sciences. I am, for instance, rather sceptical of the Cholesterol Hypothesis. In fact, it's experimental science that I tend to find persuasive - anything based merely on correlation or mathematical modelling tends to prompt the eyebrow inquisitorial from me.

Feb 4, 2010 at 12:59 PM | Unregistered Commenterdearieme

Oops. "Homeopathy"

Feb 4, 2010 at 12:59 PM | Unregistered Commenterdearieme

"Montford came to the subject in 2005 when he read a blog post by another amateur non-journalist named Tim Worstall, a scandium dealer who lives in Portugal (I am not making this up),"

Hah! I didn't know that was the start of it. How amusing.......

Feb 4, 2010 at 1:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterTim Worstall

Please, please post information about how we can get your book in the USA.

[BH: Stan, I have a an agent trying to get me a North American deal now]

Feb 4, 2010 at 3:16 PM | Unregistered Commenterstan sendera

Your book is fantastic, have read it recently.

Any chance of a second volume?

Feb 4, 2010 at 5:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn


I'm considering the possibilities.

Feb 4, 2010 at 7:09 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Got the book this week. - about half way through now.

I must say you've done a brilliant job of revealing a highly complex, technical and contentious story in a clear, readable and even-handed way.

Nice of Matt Ridley to give you a plug - since he must have recognised he has a new rival in serious science writing.

Many thanks for a great read - and for all the hours of work that went into it.

Feb 4, 2010 at 8:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterFoxgoose

Congrats. Citizen journalism at its best!

Feb 4, 2010 at 10:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterVinnster

Anyone see this statement about Pachauri,

"Yvo de Boer, a Dutch diplomat who has been in charge of global climate-change negotiations since 2007. “I hope he doesn’t resign, he would be a fool (to do so).”"

Its not quite a 1000% support but I'll start my clock ticking now. I give Pachauri a month.

Feb 5, 2010 at 3:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterSean

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